The Fannish Parergon: Aca–Fandom and the Decentred Canon | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 3, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 2045-5852
  • E-ISSN: 2045-5860



Aca–fandom, as popularized by Jenkins, forefronts reciprocity and dialogue between researcher and subject and has become the method of choice for many fan studies scholars. This article critiques the centrality of canon in the aca–fan tradition, using Derrida’s work on the parergon. I raise various issues for consideration, such as aca–fandom’s emphasis on identity, and the potential implications of a researcher presuming commonalities with fan communities. These issues are discussed with regard to my own practice-led research approach. I examine the aca–fan position in relation to ‘reflexive’ and ‘native anthropology’, the latter of which highlights advocacy dimensions of the position. I also make a case for the importance of managing responsibilities to academy and community (public or fannish) and distinctions between autonomous and public or political intellectualism. My discussion of the various implications of the aca–fan position leads to my central argument, which is that the aca–fan researcher in the textual tradition would do well to avoid the temptation to fixate on canon at the expense of the fan works themselves.


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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): aca–fandom; anthropology; canon; fan studies; methodology; parergon
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